After three decades behind the scenes, Stehan Grobler is now in the spotlight.

Having met former Steinhoff International Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste three decades ago, 59-year-old Grobler went on to serve as a long-standing executive while the retailer expanded across the world. But when an accounting scandal erupted at the South African company in December, the lawyer was left exposed.

Last week, Grobler became one of just three people to have been publicly sanctioned by Steinhoff for their role in the crisis, which has left the company’s finances in tatters and wiped out billions of dollars of market value. While Jooste quit immediately and is being investigated by police at the behest of the company, Grobler and former Chief Financial Officer Ben La Grange were suspended eight months later as part of an ongoing investigation by auditors at PwC.

Aeon Investment Management perspective captured in the article

“With his closeness to the company he should have known something was wrong and he had the fiduciary responsibility to make sure that things are above board,” Asief Mohamed, chief investment officer at Cape Town-based Aeon Investment Management, said by phone. “The whole management team had these responsibilities and if they didn’t know that something was going on, then it means at the least they were incompetent.”

Read the full article authored by Renee Bonorchis and Janice Kew published by Bloomberg